The London Olympic Games are just around the corner and almost 5 billion people are expected to tune in to watch the iconic event . For the first time ever, all the sporting events will live-stream all over the globe. The International Olympic Committee and the Olympic athletes have embraced social media as well. Athletes are taking the opportunity to post, blog, and tweet to share their Olympic experience with their fans, family and friends. The Olympic Athletes Hub allows the public to follow athletes on Facebook and Twitter giving the 2012 Olympic viewer greater opportunities to connect at a more personal level to show their support for their favorite athletes and events1.
Social media existed during the last two Olympics as well, but the extent to which it has penetrated our lives and become a part of popular culture over the past eight years is mind-boggling. The vast difference between the London Games and the Beijing Games held in 2008, is proof of this.
Smartphone ownership has risen 456 percent in the four years since the Beijing Olympics in 20082. Over 5000 hours of video footage will be collected at the London Games which can be watched on the 106.7 million smartphones owned by people around the world3. This shows that aside from being more social, this year’s games will also be more mobile. Media consumption has truly risen to exciting proportions. The vast difference between the two games shows just how much our world has changed in such a short time and how we now have the technology to be truly social and mobile.
In Asia-Pacific particularly, mobile is growing at a phenomenal pace. Walk into any train or bus station in Singapore or Hong Kong or Seoul and you’ll see people engrossed with their phones. Others will be listening to music, playing games, reading e-books or watching TV. Mobile devices are ubiquitous.
While mobile phone sales in more mature markets have slowed somewhat, that is not the case in Asia. As smartphones become more affordable, mobile is longer restricted to small niche group of consumers, or only to more developed parts of the world. Mobile internet use has increased a great deal as well. In many Asian countries, more than 50 percent of mobile phone owners use their mobile devices to go online.
At the same time, advertisers have begun to tap into the potential of mobile. Mobile campaigns are being conducted at a regional and global scale. In 2011, the global mobile advertising marketing was valued at 5.3 billion and Asia-Pacific accounted for one-third of the world’s mobile ad spends.
As a medium that transcends the boundaries of race, gender, and age, mobile has tremendous potential. While different social media platforms attract different groups of people, that is not the case with mobile. A huge number of people can be reached via mobile and this adds to its significance. The ability to get immediate, measurable results, integrate across platforms, deliver personalized and location-based marketing, are all factors that have contributed to the growth of mobile.
Mobile as a medium has entered an interesting phase of its life. Its growth is seemingly unstoppable, and its potential and possibilities still have to be fully explored. The launch of 4G networks has opened up even more opportunities. As 4G services dramatically increase data transmission speeds, they will pave the way for marketers to be even more creative in the mobile space by allowing them to create ads encompassing rich media and video.
Location-based search services are another growth area for mobile. Consumers expect to be able to find businesses, restaurants, and services in proximity by running a simple search. Advertisers that geo-target by strategically using location-aware advertising to reach customers have already seen great results. We will also probably see a huge jump in geo-fencing, where stores and businesses send coupons and offers to consumers within a certain area.
As the mobile eco-system continues to mature, hopefully more stringent standards regarding issues such as data-collection, privacy, and spam will come into place as well, be it via government legislation or industry regulation. These will help ensure that the mobile channel grows in a secure manner to achieve its full potential.